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News & Features Discussion  » Ryzom: At A Glance: Ruins of Silan

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  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  1/04/07 10:03:09 AM#1

In the return of our At A Glance feature, Donna Desborough takes a look at Ryzom's "unlimited trial area", Ruins of Silan.

In every MMO's life a few changes must come. This is a fact of life. The Saga of Ryzom is no different than any other MMO. One can always hope the changes are for the best, and in this case that just might be true. The Ruins of Silan is a starter area for new players to familiarise themselves with Ryzom. It is a place dedicated to the new player complete with tutorial missions and special rewards.

Missions in the Ruins of Silan are a bit different than everywhere else on Atys. The missions you'll encounter here aren't just for shiny rewards; they're here to teach you how to play. Ryzom's game system has always had a steep learning curve that could sometimes put new players off. This need not be a problem anymore with these new missions.

You can read the whole article here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  Clattuc

Novice Member

Joined: 4/04/05
Posts: 165

1/04/07 11:48:05 AM#2
Silan is a good starter area and the missions there give you some items that are useful for the Mainland.  Also, the grind for a low level player is much more gentle than it is on the Mainland.

As far as using it to learn the lore and how to play, all I can say is that Ryzom (formerly Nevrax, now Gameforge) could and should do a better job of documenting the ins and outs of the game online.  There is a lot of stuff from beta days (two years ago) and very little since.  There are very few reliable external sites with guides and such.  There is too much of the "well, just get in the game and ask someone, they will help you" thing.  Lore shouldn't have to be pieced out on some other player's dime.  The business with Stanzas and Actions, for example, is elegant, mathematical, has a structure to it and can be understood... but it takes a little work.  Guides are much better for that stuff than the chat room.

Ryzom is gorgeous and fun and I'm not knocking it, but I would love to see some more support materials emerge.
  Beery

Novice Member

Joined: 7/05/06
Posts: 184

"Dear Buddha, please bring me a pony and a plastic rocket".

1/04/07 12:12:18 PM#3
I agree.  The lore is one of the biggest disappointments with Ryzom, and a tutorial would be a good thing.  Personally I never saw anything to draw me into the game - no lore, no backstory, and my favourite race was the least popular in the game, so I was afraid to join and go to the mainland in case I found no one around.  The starting area is a good fun experience, but there's a lack of depth - the sort of depth that lore can bring to the game.  Also, although the combat and crafting systems are good, there's really very little to do apart from killing creatures and crafting - this also comes from a lack of attention paid to the lore aspect, as a bit more attention to the history of Atys might have prodded the devs into spending some time developing a real culture for players to roleplay, but there's nothing.  It's a shame really because the game has tons of potential and good solid gameplay elements, but from a roleplaying perspective it just feels flat.  Maybe the starter island is different from the mainland, but somehow I get the feeling that the mainland suffers from the same problem.
  GRIMACHU

Novice Member

Joined: 4/02/05
Posts: 527

Purveyor of filth

1/04/07 12:17:17 PM#4
Er? Huh?

There's tons of lore...

http://www.ryzom.com/game-lore

Postmortem Studios
Roleplaying games to DIE for
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  Kostika

Staff Writer

Joined: 4/02/05
Posts: 84

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

1/04/07 12:20:51 PM#5
Go play the Ruins of Silan area with a new char. The missions are the tutorial. If you actualy read the message windows that pop up then you'll get detailed instructions and explanation on how to do all of the skills and how to handle things like stanzas.

Donna Desborough
Staff Writer
www.mmorpg.com

Notice: The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of MMORPG.com or its management.

  Beery

Novice Member

Joined: 7/05/06
Posts: 184

"Dear Buddha, please bring me a pony and a plastic rocket".

1/04/07 12:25:47 PM#6
There's tons of lore in the sense of stuff written down, but I guess what I meant to say was that none of it means anything in the game.  The races have no culture - nothing for a player to use to develop gameplay-strategies or roleplay character.  What I mean is that the lore doesn't affect how a player plays the game - it's the same no matter what race a player chooses.  The only effect is in terms of the accessible missions, but there's simply no culture - the races don't worship, they don't have any rituals or rites and we can't even own a home, play music, eat food, or do any of the day-to-day things that make a game seem like a living world.  It's even hard to get together in-game to just shoot the breeze with one's fellow players.  Everything is geared to the hunt, and it's just too one-dimensional.
  GRIMACHU

Novice Member

Joined: 4/02/05
Posts: 527

Purveyor of filth

1/04/07 12:27:13 PM#7
Then you're missing something. All of that sort of thing comes from players, it could be better supported in some instances (food, clothing etc) but players DO do all those things you mention and taken from the lore.

Postmortem Studios
Roleplaying games to DIE for
Shop here

  Kostika

Staff Writer

Joined: 4/02/05
Posts: 84

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

1/04/07 12:29:38 PM#8
Have you actually played Ryzom?

A majority of my days are spent RPing and talking to my fellow player. We have worship, stories, culture. The difference in Ryzom is that it isn't spoon fed to you. Go read the site's lore. Then go play. If anything, Ryzom is the least combat heavy MMO I've ever played. No raids here.

Donna Desborough
Staff Writer
www.mmorpg.com

Notice: The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of MMORPG.com or its management.

  Beery

Novice Member

Joined: 7/05/06
Posts: 184

"Dear Buddha, please bring me a pony and a plastic rocket".

1/04/07 12:36:04 PM#9

Yes, I have actually played Ryzom.

Roleplaying stuff only comes from players if it has at least SOME support from the software.  In Ryzom there's none.  You can't expect players to roleplay eating a meal together if there's no way to show a table, chairs and plates with food, or a picnic laid out on the ground.  There's just nothing to work with in Ryzom.  Imagination is all well and good, but I think it's a bit futile to try to use your imagination when you're pretending to have an evening in a tavern and you're hampered by the fact that there's no tavern, no chairs, no tables, no food, no drink, no entertainment and no way to provide entertainment even if a player wanted to (okay there's one dance move, but do it more than a few times in a row -as you'd have to in order to look like a dancer - and you could get booted for spamming the message that's tied to the move).  Similarly, I'm sure some worship goes on, but what there is is severely constrained by the fact that there are no real temples that feel the part.  I mean sure, we COULD pretend to do these things without support from the devs, but I don't think it would be much fun - and that's why it's so rare to see such things in Ryzom.  Players can only supply so much in terms of imagination, and it soon loses steam if the devs don't choose to build support structures for such playstyles.

If Ryzom is the least combat heavy MMOG you've played then you've never played SWG.  It has a class (entertainer) that's entirely non-combat and mostly non-crafting.  Sure, SWG may have a bad reputation, but for non-combat playstyles it's way ahead of the competition.

  Tymora

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/13/04
Posts: 1312

1/04/07 12:58:47 PM#10
Originally posted by Beery

Yes, I have actually played Ryzom.

Roleplaying stuff only comes from players if it has at least SOME support from the software.  In Ryzom there's none.  You can't expect players to roleplay eating a meal together if there's no way to show a table, chairs and plates with food, or a picnic laid out on the ground.  There's just nothing to work with in Ryzom.  Imagination is all well and good, but I think it's a bit futile to try to use your imagination when you're pretending to have an evening in a tavern and you're hampered by the fact that there's no tavern, no chairs, no tables, no food, no drink, no entertainment and no way to provide entertainment even if a player wanted to (okay there's one dance move, but do it more than a few times in a row -as you'd have to in order to look like a dancer - and you could get booted for spamming the message that's tied to the move).  Similarly, I'm sure some worship goes on, but what there is is severely constrained by the fact that there are no real temples that feel the part.  I mean sure, we COULD pretend to do these things without support from the devs, but I don't think it would be much fun - and that's why it's so rare to see such things in Ryzom.  Players can only supply so much in terms of imagination, and it soon loses steam if the devs don't choose to build support structures for such playstyles.


Although this thread has been very interesting to read with lots of good points, I have to agree with this post.  If players can conjure up RP in Ryzom without support from the software, I think its great.  However, there are other mmorpgs that do  fine job of supporting RP and making it more of a part of the game.  I don't mind being spoonfed, especially when it comes to RP, something which is still only practiced by a minority of players in mmos. 

I hate to refer back to SWG, because of what it has become, but I always do because even still, it offers a lot to players in terms of RP.  With that and with players imagination, it has been a far more fulfilling experience than I ever had playing Ryzom.  Right now the most common playstyles are supported by most mmos - Fighting, exploring, crafting, etc. but there still isn'treally a mmo that supports the RP playstyle, and perhaps that's because they rely on the players for this.

I don't mind that responsibility.  I will always do my best to make do with what the game has to offer, but the more the game creates opportunity for RP, the more we'll see it happen, and it will only lead to a richer experience.

  GRIMACHU

Novice Member

Joined: 4/02/05
Posts: 527

Purveyor of filth

1/04/07 1:02:16 PM#11
There are temples.
There was a whole (destructive) plot arc around their construction.

I think you're also underestimating the power of The Ring.

Postmortem Studios
Roleplaying games to DIE for
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  green13

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/02/06
Posts: 1326

1/04/07 1:33:55 PM#12

I haven't tried this Ruins of Silan thing, but I don't recall the learning curve being terribly steep when I tried the game.

There were tutorial missions which did a good job of explaining how everything worked.

The main reason I didn't stay was the lag.

  Beery

Novice Member

Joined: 7/05/06
Posts: 184

"Dear Buddha, please bring me a pony and a plastic rocket".

1/04/07 1:40:07 PM#13
Having said all of the above, I should say that I do think that Ryzom is probably THE best game (or at least the best I've seen) for players who are completely focused on crafting or fighting.  But for the rest of us there's just not all that much to Ryzom.  I wish it was different, but it isn't.
  Clattuc

Novice Member

Joined: 4/04/05
Posts: 165

1/04/07 1:41:15 PM#14
Originally posted by Kostika
Go play the Ruins of Silan area with a new char. The missions are the tutorial. If you actualy read the message windows that pop up then you'll get detailed instructions and explanation on how to do all of the skills and how to handle things like stanzas.

This is absolutely true, but with a major problem: Those detailed popup windows full of instructions and explanations are gone forever once you close them.  You can't look them up again, you can't re-ask the question that triggered them, they're not in your chat backscroll, and there's no "Journal" as in other games where you can reread the details of what you've been taught along the way.  Nor is any of that neat new stuff echoed in the in-game Help system or the web-based Documentation tree.

This is just a basic example of the gap between the marvelous imaginations behind Ryzom and the nuts and bolts of software support that translate imagination into usability.  It's fixable.  They just need to do it.
  Kostika

Staff Writer

Joined: 4/02/05
Posts: 84

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

1/04/07 1:43:21 PM#15
Originally posted by green13

I haven't tried this Ruins of Silan thing, but I don't recall the learning curve being terribly steep when I tried the game.

There were tutorial missions which did a good job of explaining how everything worked.

The main reason I didn't stay was the lag.


The Ruins of Silan has actually been for quit some time now (since June/July). So depending on how long ago that was, you may have done Silan and not the original starter area since before there were no tutorials and the starter missions were rather useless.

(not saying you don't know what you area you did, but alot of people don't realise the area is called The Ruins of Silan)

Donna Desborough
Staff Writer
www.mmorpg.com

Notice: The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of MMORPG.com or its management.

  Kostika

Staff Writer

Joined: 4/02/05
Posts: 84

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

1/04/07 1:45:29 PM#16
Originally posted by Clattuc

This is absolutely true, but with a major problem: Those detailed popup windows full of instructions and explanations are gone forever once you close them.  You can't look them up again, you can't re-ask the question that triggered them, they're not in your chat backscroll, and there's no "Journal" as in other games where you can reread the details of what you've been taught along the way.  Nor is any of that neat new stuff echoed in the in-game Help system or the web-based Documentation tree.

This is just a basic example of the gap between the marvelous imaginations behind Ryzom and the nuts and bolts of software support that translate imagination into usability.  It's fixable.  They just need to do it.

Good point there. Being able to review things in a journal would be useful. The help info in game could do with some love for sure.

Donna Desborough
Staff Writer
www.mmorpg.com

Notice: The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of MMORPG.com or its management.

  jakin

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/27/04
Posts: 235

1/04/07 2:12:54 PM#17

Good idea for a column - but I fail to understand the reasoning behind having the review done by a staff writer that actively plays the game.  I would think that would be the last choice if the aim is to get a view on the "trial experience".

I mean, I wouldn't regard myself as a good choice to review the EVE trial experience having played the game for years now.  It's entirely probable that there are things that are second nature to me now that would boggle a completely new player.  Likewise, I'm sure that there are elements of the UI that I've simply gotten used to over time that would be completely unintuitive and hindering to someone on a trial.

It just seems that the purpose of the column would be better served if the reviewer was coming from the same perspective as a prospective trial player.

  Kostika

Staff Writer

Joined: 4/02/05
Posts: 84

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

1/04/07 2:18:54 PM#18
I went through Silan with a fine tooth comb, from beginning to end (I'd only poked around with it prior). I hit it like any newbie would. I know how horrible the original starter lands were. I know what is good and bad in a starter area. Just because I actively play the game doesn't mean I can't discover an area like a new player since the area pretty much was new to me.

Please tell me, is there something wrong with the article.

Donna Desborough
Staff Writer
www.mmorpg.com

Notice: The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of MMORPG.com or its management.

  Cerene

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/19/06
Posts: 13

1/04/07 2:32:02 PM#19


Originally posted by jakin

Good idea for a column - but I fail to understand the reasoning behind having the review done by a staff writer that actively plays the game. I would think that would be the last choice if the aim is to get a view on the "trial experience".


If the point of the article is to review the "trial experience" from the viewpoint of someone completely unfamiliar with the game, then clearly it would be a bad idea to have it written by someone who plays the game.

On the other hand, only someone who has played the game can evaluate the trial with respect to the game itself - in other words, how closely the trial prepares you and is representative of the real game.

I think the former though is covered by the usual game reviewer, who picks up a new game, tries it for a while, and then writes about the experience. The latter requires someone who has played the game extensively.

Personally, I found the trial area fun and well thought out. The two issues I had with it were the problem of help text disappearing and the heavy emphasis on quests which give good rewards. I didn't really have a problem with the help, the community is very friendly and helpful, and I always got quick answers if I was confused. The quest thing I think is more of an issue, you can be really disappointed if you expect a quest-driven game. There are only a few rites that provide you with useful plans, upgrades, etc. and they are nowhere near as clear as the island quests, though there is enough information from other players and on the web to find and complete them if you want.

  jakin

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/27/04
Posts: 235

1/04/07 4:33:22 PM#20
Originally posted by Kostika
I went through Silan with a fine tooth comb, from beginning to end (I'd only poked around with it prior). I hit it like any newbie would. I know how horrible the original starter lands were. I know what is good and bad in a starter area. Just because I actively play the game doesn't mean I can't discover an area like a new player since the area pretty much was new to me.

Please tell me, is there something wrong with the article.

The article as written is fine, it's a good review of the new area - I was just questioning whether it was meeting the aim of the column.

Editor's Note: At a Glance is a new feature at MMORPG.com that asks our writers to examine their first few hours of gameplay within an MMORPG's free trial."

Given that it's not actually the reviewer's first hours, but a review that comes after many hours of gameplay, I don't see the logic in promoting the column as such.

It seems most of the reviews and re-reviews on this site are written (appropriately) by people who have been in game for a while, which is pretty much a requirement to get a balanced and informed view on an MMO.  At first glance would (at first glance) seem to be the companion to this usual practice - being a review closer to what someone just picking up the free trial could expect.  Having both types of columns done by experienced players seems redundant.  May as well just expand the scope to a full review at that point.

IMO, having the "At First Glance" review done by someone who actively plays the game doesn't meet the stated aim of the column.  It's not a value judgement on the piece at all, simply a comment for any future articles.

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